With the latest news on BMW potentially offering an all-wheel drive M car in the future, lots of BMW fans rallied behind the idea of an M with more grip and snow friendly. The models rumored to get the xDrive system (rear-biased though) are the next M5 and M6 family, and even the M3.
It seems that most people praise the potential of the xDrive powered M3 and what it can bring to the performance segment, but there are some shortcomings that might put a stop to an AWD M3 or M4.
We have gathered five reasons why we believe BMW should not make an all-wheel drive M3 anytime soon. The reasons are backed up by our experience covering the automotive scene for years – especially the BMW M3 – combined with some biased opinions of our own.
So here they are!
The BMW M3 was always meant to be three things: fun to drive, lightweight and rear-wheel driven. It used to be a small rocket ship, it still is compared to today’s standards and it is designed to tackle any track in the world, and do it rather well. It is definitely a car most fans relate to and it’s supposed to be fun and easily driftable, thanks to the RWD and perfect balance.
The new M3 and M4 are priced well in the $60k range and adding an all-wheel drive option would increase the development costs and potentially the base MSRP. Sure, BMW could offer the AWD as an option, but still an expensive one for a car with lots of competitors in the segment.
Developing a race like all-wheel drive system isn’t cheap and even though BMW excels in developing those for some other models, this one would probably be needed to be built from ground up.
An all-wheel drive system will add weight, it will also add to the complexity of the gearbox configuration and will require additional parts to support the xDrive system. All of these could add up to a few hundred pounds for what’s supposed to be a lightweight performance car.
For example, the BMW F30 335i model with RWD has a weight of 3,595 lbs for the automatic transmission vehicle. The xDrive model weighs in at 3,720 lbs with the same transmission option. It’s an increase of 125 lbs which in true fairness, speaks volume for a high-performance version of the same. BMW has been focused in the last years on reducing the weight of their M cars versus adding more power to compensate for the weight gains, so we see no reason why an M3 should get fatter.
The xDrive would add grip and potentially faster sprints, but on a track, the RWD makes for a better car. With a near perfect weight distribution, fully optimized platform for RWD-oriented layout, it would be pointless to ruin what is now considered a benchmark in the midsize performance cars segment.
Yes, some of us would love that xDrive for winter driving, but BMW M3 was never meant to be a winter vehicle, even though a set of good winter tires will make it just as fun on snow as on dry pavement.
5. Purchasing Appeal
The M3 has some of the most loyal and vocal community out there. With a good price-to-performance ratio, the M3 is the ideal car for many enthusiasts. They buy the car due to its motorsport heritage, performance and rear-wheel driving, so an M3 xDrive would certainly not sit well with them.
Times are certainly changing in the automotive world, but some cars are just meant to retain their heritage. We believe the M3 is one of them.